TRI-STAR Program

Training for Residents Integrating Skills, Treatment Advocacy and Resilience for Mental and Behavioral Health (TRI-STAR-MBH) 

Project Overview and Rationale

In the 2023-2024 academic year, SFPC is expanding our mental health curriculum. Our enhanced mental health curriculum is called Training for Residents Integrating Skills, Treatment Advocacy and Resilience for Mental and Behavioral Health (TRI-STAR). In late 2022, we received a grant from the Health Resources and Services Agency (HRSA) to support the development of this program. TRI-STAR is guided by multidisciplinary faculty who offer expertise relevant to the prevention and management of mental health conditions in a large network of safety net clinics, partnering with community-based organizations, to serve a diverse, medically, and socially complex population, with a focus on the prevention, identification, diagnosis, and treatment of mental and behavioral health conditions affecting populations experiencing trauma, gun violence, substance use disorders and chronic mental illness. Our outstanding faculty educators include national experts in medical education, curricular development, psychiatry, psychology, addiction and behavioral medicine, adolescent mental health, maternal health, and behavioral integration in primary care.  

Why expand our mental health curriculum? 

  • Primary care physicians are on the front lines of access to mental health services, screening, diagnosis and treatment. Most patients receive behavioral health care in their primary care clinic alone.  
  • Inequities in access to mental health care disproportionately impact people of color and those with low socioeconomic status so for PCPs serving people in these demographics, providing evidence-based mental health treatment is particularly important. 
  • Depression, anxiety, insomnia and other mental health conditions are among the most commonly encountered visit diagnoses in RFPC, the San Francisco Health Network and primary care practices nationwide. 
  • SFPC alumni have indicated in a recent survey that they commonly encounter and manage many mental health conditions in practice. Most SFPC alumni surveyed agreed they would recommend more training and practical skills in the screening, diagnosis and management of these conditions for primary care trainees.
  • Our program leadership and many other primary care program directors nationwide feel it is imperative for future PCPs to leave residency equipped with the knowledge and skills to screen for, diagnose and offer treatment for common mental health conditions. 


Mission and Objectives
  • Increase the number of primary care physicians who are trained in the prevention, identification, diagnosis, treatment, and referrals for mental and behavioral conditions. 

  • Develop or expand partnerships with integrated behavioral health and primary care settings and community-based organizations to provide clinical rotations for at least one month in duration for primary care residents. 

  • Develop or enhance mental and behavioral health content in didactic and clinical training for primary care residents including suicide prevention, trauma-informed care, addressing abuse, and gun violence